Phanteks has been around for a little while producing CPU coolers, but the new Enthoo Primo is their first enclosure and it's clearly designed to get your attention. There's an almost amusing amount of restriction involved in trying to produce a case that adheres to the ATX standard, and a lot of the more original thinking in case design that's come out of the past few years has been essentially about circumventing the inherent weaknesses of the standard. Corsair's recent Carbide Air 540 is a good example, and the Enthoo Primo offers an alternative take.

What we're essentially dealing with is a standard ATX enclosure design that's been fragmented into semi-discrete chambers. Phanteks is still dealing in the black monolith motif (and this plastic, steel, and aluminum beast is heavy), but the interior of the case segregates the motherboard and primary components from the power supply and from the storage. There's a removable plate that even covers the routing holes to keep the interior looking as clean as possible, while the storage is entirely hidden. Phanteks also gets some mileage out of a bottom intake fan by raising the bottom of the Enthoo Primo and giving it enough clearance for air to enter even while the case is on carpet.

The separate chambers behind the motherboard tray tell you all you need to know. The power supply has been rotated ninety degrees, making the case taller but also cleaning up cable routing by offering a healthy amount of space to tuck cabling into. The two 3.5" drive cages are both removable, and above them are a set of five 5.25" drive bays and two trays that hold two 2.5" drives each. Pay close attention as well to the velcro cable wraps behind the motherboard tray, as well as the unique fan hub. We've seen fan hubs before and this one initially reminded me of the hubs NZXT employs, but the Phanteks offering is different: it connects to a single PWM header on the motherboard, and provided that header can provide enough power, it effectively allows the motherboard's PWM control to control all of the case fans.

Phanteks Enthoo Primo Specifications
Motherboard Form Factor Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX, SSI EEB, E-ATX
Drive Bays External 5x 5.25"
Internal 6x 2.5"/3.5", 4x 2.5"
Cooling Front 2x 140mm intake fans (supports 120mm)
Rear 1x 140mm exhaust fan (supports 120mm)
Top 1x 140mm exhaust fan (supports 3x 140mm or 4x 120mm)
Side 2x 120mm/140mm fan mounts
Bottom 1x 140mm intake fan (supports 4x 120mm or 2x 140mm)
Expansion Slots 8
I/O Port 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 1x Headphone, 1x Mic
Power Supply Size ATX (supports two)
Clearances HSF 207mm
PSU 240mm
GPU 257mm with bracket; 350mm without bracket
Dimensions 9.84" x 25.59" x 23.62"
250mm x 650mm x 600mm
Special Features Supports 420mm/480mm radiator in top
PWM-controlled fan hub
Toggleable blue LED lighting for trim and front fans
Price MSRP $249

As is the custom for modern cases, Phanteks keeps things pretty modular and there is a healthy amount of room for installing a custom liquid cooling loop. Of particular note is the aforementioned shield in the primary compartment, which is also intended as a place to mount a reservoir. Most of the fan mounts have removable filters (all but the rear exhaust mount), and the case is designed in such a way that if you can put a fan somewhere, you can put a radiator there too.

Building in the Phanteks Enthoo Primo
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  • Abot13 - Tuesday, August 13, 2013 - link

    meh, just go to caselabs, resistance there is futile for sure, untill you realise that that kind of beauty costs.... still cheaper then a girlfriend though ;) (and depreciates less quickly too) Reply
  • Barbarossa - Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - link

    Haha, Obsidian 1080D. Reply
  • JamesWoods - Saturday, August 10, 2013 - link

    Frankly, this case is not at all worth the cost when you can get a case to house your PC and do just fine for $40. Fools and their money are soon parted. Reply
  • zero2dash - Saturday, August 10, 2013 - link

    Having owned several high dollar cases (including a LL PC-V1000BW Plus II and a SS FT02), it's all in what you prioritize.

    That being said - at this point, I'd rather stick with <$100 cases (ideally <$75) and spend the extra money on more RAM, a better GPU, or a bigger SSD, which is precisely what I've been doing the last few years.
    Reply
  • noeldillabough - Sunday, August 11, 2013 - link

    Buying an expensive case will last you a long time, compare that to say your sli videocards that are crap in a couple of years. The worst possible investment is computer hardware; doesn't stop me from wanting the latest! Reply
  • Ilias78 - Sunday, August 11, 2013 - link

    40$ with horrible cable management, acoustics, airflow and ergonomics.

    Sure bro, whatever you say.
    Reply
  • JamesWoods - Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - link

    llias78 - Horrible? Apparently you haven't been shopping in awhile. There are $40 cases now that have fantastic cable management. Maybe you just suck at building PCs. Cable management isn't some big mystery. Personally, I prefer to spend the extra cash on quiet fans and still have some extra left over from what I save.

    noeldillabough - You don't sell your entire system...I find it's much better to do so. Remember the switch up from USB 2.0 to USB 3.0? It's easiest to just sell the entire system and build a new one than have to buy USB 3.0 PCI cards, or USB 3.0 connection boxes for your bay drives.
    Reply
  • waldojim42 - Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - link

    While cheap cases do work, and I still own some that are 10+ years old, I actually don't like working with them the way I do my more expensive cases. The Antec 1200 for example, has enough room that I can move things wherever I need them. So when I am running 4 video cards, I can move all my hard drives to the top of the case, and open up the air flow down below them. Something a $40 case simply won't allow.

    Also worth consideration, is the filtering. I live in a dusty environment (Texas), and am constantly cleaning my filters. Better filters than dead/overheating components in the case!
    Reply
  • rpg1966 - Saturday, August 10, 2013 - link

    Surely you can plot the temperature and noise levels on a single chart (temp on X, noise on Y, for example), to make the numbers understandable at a glance? Reply
  • Pooter - Sunday, August 11, 2013 - link

    I understand that there's some validity to test the case out of the box in factory configuration... but do you not have watercooling equipment to test these obvious cases that are aimed at watercooling enthusiasts? Same goes for the 900d review. All the options that make this case exciting is simply glossed over if you're going to not play with all the fan/radiator/reservoir options. Reply

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